GetAgent
Back
Close
  • Compare agents
  • Online valuation
  • Explore my area
  • Home toolkit
  • News & guides
  • Estate agents by area
  • Sold house prices by area
Estate agents by area
Search by Location or Name
  • Selling guides
  • Estate agent guides
  • Mortgage advice
  • Conveyancing guides
  • Property news
  • See All News & Guides
Sign in
Agent shortlist
HouseWorth
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. Do I need a solicitor to sell my house?
Conveyancing help and guides
20 January 2023

Do I need a solicitor to sell my house?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
Street view of a conveyancers shop window.

Table of contents

  1. 1. Do I need a solicitor to sell my house?
  2. 2. Can I do my own house sale conveyancing?
  3. 3. Do I need a conveyancer or a solicitor?
  4. 4. How much does a solicitor charge for selling a house?
  5. 5. Summary: Secure your home sale
  6. 6. FAQs

Unless you've been through the process before, it might surprise you to learn that selling a house is no walk in the park - particularly if you want the best result. Homeselling rewards the prepared!

Naturally, this means you'll need all the help you can get, especially for processes that you may be completely unfamiliar with. When you sell a house, there's a very strong case for using a solicitor to handle all the legal bits. In fact, it's generally considered the norm.

But do you actually need a solicitor to sell your home? Can you do it without one and save yourself the money? And what's the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

Do I need a solicitor to sell my house?

No, you don't need a solicitor to sell your house - but it’s strongly recommended.

Selling a house isn't as straightforward as negotiating a price, signing a paper and handing over the keys. There's actually a lot of legal work that goes on behind the scenes.

When you finally accept a buyer's offer, it's important to cover your back, especially if you're buying a house simultaneously with your house sale. Your solicitor will provide the buyer’s solicitor with all the documents related to the house you're selling. They will also carry out a number of 'searches' and surveys to confirm that the house you’re buying is in habitable condition and has no ulterior interests.

Exchanging contracts is another massive undertaking that a trained solicitor usually handles - and for good reason. Not only are the contracts themselves complicated and tedious (though no less important!), but legal representatives from every link of the property chain must be informed that contracts have been signed.

You might believe you can handle all of this by yourself, but the fact is - unless you're a solicitor who has been explicitly trained in the conveyancing process, you might be biting off more than you can chew. Indeed, the risks of not using a trained professional could be catastrophic.

Can I do my own house sale conveyancing?

Yes you can, but we wouldn't recommend it, not unless you're a trained conveyancer in your own right. Conveyancing solicitors have the legal knowledge to deal with all the nuances and legalities of a house sale. To put it bluntly, there's a lot of ground to cover - and you'll have enough on your plate without having to worry about contracts, searches and surveys.

Risks of DIY conveyancing

Both the buyer and seller stand to lose out in a property transaction that hasn't been managed by legal professionals. The legal expertise required to successfully convey the right information across the chain, and order surveys and searches, can easily be found among licensed conveyancers.

A layman without any experience in property law however, stands to lose themselves in the legal complexities. Some of the risks of DIY conveyancing include:

  • Lack of communication across the property chain, resulting in delays in the transaction.
  • Potential hiccups in the selling process that could lead to the sale falling through.
  • Conveyancing solicitors help with the mortgage process, registering your loan against the legal title of your new home - without their expertise, your outstanding mortgage could be affected.
  • After ordering a search with priority to detect any other parties with interest in your home, solicitors secure your title deeds and register your ownership on HM Land Registry. Without a solicitor's expertise, you may end up with an unregistered home, which leaves you vulnerable to crimes like mortgage fraud and property title fraud.

Benefits of a choosing a licensed conveyancer

Conveyancers usually have access to a ton of resources and contacts that the layman doesn't. They also tend to have some form of indemnity insurance to cover themselves should anything go awry on their end during the transaction.

Paying a conveyancer to take care of your conveyancing means that you're enlisting the help of a legal professional who answers to a governing body like the Property Law society or the Legal Ombudsman - in other words, you're insuring yourself against potential problems.

Ultimately, picking a reputable, licensed conveyancer will make a big difference to your sale. You’ll take the edge off your sale and give yourself the breathing room to focus on what matters - plus you’ll have a much better chance of achieving a successful transaction.

Do I need a conveyancer or a solicitor?

You can choose a legal representative who refers to themselves as either a conveyancing solicitor or a solicitor, as long as you find evidence that they have a track record of successful property transactions.

Conveyancers and solicitors are actually one and the same - more specifically, a conveyancer is a solicitor who specialises in property law. You can get solicitors who are versed in both property law and other practices, but you can also get solicitors (or 'conveyancers') who just deal in property.

Leasehold property owner? You may not have a choice

If you're a leasehold property owner, your freeholder may require you to use a solicitor for the conveyancing process. Indeed some mortgage lenders may insist you do the same. But why?

The clue is in the name: leasehold properties are 'leased', and the actual owner of the grounds - the freeholder - maintains an interest in the property transaction being completed properly. A paid legal expert provides some reassurance that the task will be done to a good standard.

How much does a solicitor charge for selling a house?

The legal fees for conveyancing solicitors vary greatly depending on skill and experience, but the standard fee falls between £500 and £2000, plus the cost of disbursements. Disbursements include things like property searches, surveys (Homebuyers Survey or Building Survey are most common).

Referral fees can make some solicitors more expensive than others. For example, if you choose a solicitor that your estate agent recommended, you can expect some type of cost to be factored into their overall legal fees.

Remember: unlike estate agents, whose performances vary regardless of price, solicitor fees tend to scale with ability and experience. Do your research and don't just settle for the cheapest.

Ready to compare agents?

It takes 2 minutes. 100% free. No obligation.

Choose the right estate agent

Like conveyancers, choosing an agent is another big part of the house selling process. A reliable agent can make a massive difference to your house sale, increasing the interest and success of your property listing, and even the speed of your sale.

There are lots of ways to compare agents online, but GetAgent's is the easiest. Use the free Agent Comparison Tool to rank local agents according to:

  • Most experience in selling properties like yours
  • Speed at selling properties in your area
  • Most likely to achieve your asking price

Summary: Secure your home sale

While it's certainly possible to sell your house without a conveyancing solicitor, a trained legal expert is absolutely necessary for the successful completion of your home sale. Without their expertise, your sale risks falling through. Even if you complete the sale without a conveyancer, your house might still be vulnerable to fraud.

FAQs

At what point do you need a solicitor when selling a house?

Traditionally, you should find and instruct a solicitor after you agree to a buyer’s offer. Until that point, you don’t really need one. Once you’ve instructed a solicitor, they will facilitate all the paperwork and legal bits required for contracts to be exchanged, and the sale to be completed.

How much do solicitors charge to sell a house UK?

On average, solicitors charge between £1500 and £2000 plus VAT and disbursements, but this can be much more depending on the market value of your property.

How do I sell my house privately?

Selling your house privately involves doing all your own marketing, negotiating and legal work. To sell your house privately, you’ll need to:

  1. Market your home both online and offline (You won’t have access to Rightmove or Zoopla).
  2. Spruce up and declutter your home.
  3. Lead house viewings.
  4. Negotiate an offer and agree to a sale.
  5. Request legal documents.
  6. Exchange completion documents.
  7. Complete the sale.
  8. Any Capital Gains Tax payable.

Can you sell or buy a house without a solicitor?

Yes, you can sell or buy a house without a solicitor, but this can be a difficult task. There are a lot of stages and nuances to both sides of a property transaction, and your sale or purchase can be compromised without the help of a professional.

What documents do I need to sell my house UK?

You need a lot of documents to sell your house, some of the most prominent include:

  • Proof of identity and address
  • Title deeds
  • EPC
  • Share of freehold information
  • Property information forms
  • Gas safety certificate
  • Electric safety certificate

Can you transfer deeds without a solicitor?

Yes, you can transfer deeds without a solicitor, but it’s not recommended. The process of transferring ownership is complex and requires a thorough understanding of property law. It’s possible to complete the process yourself, but there are several administrative steps that must be completed correctly, with mistakes leading to disputes, delays and additional costs.

While solicitors aren’t essential, their expertise can ensure a property sale is carried out correctly. Without one, you run the risk of jeopardising your transaction.

Thinking about
selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

Thinking about
selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

Ready to compare agents?

It takes 2 minutes. 100% free. No obligation.

Related posts
Conveyancing
How much does a damp survey cost?
What is a damp survey and how much does it cost?
Read more
GetAgent
The Estate Agent comparison site
GetAgent Facebook iconGetAgent Twitter icon

For agents

  • Login
  • How to join

Get in touch

020 3608 6556

Our lines are closed

We are a company registered in England & Wales, company number 09428979.

Privacy policyTerms of use

Copyright © 2024 GetAgent Limited